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Twins Are +700 Longshots to Win AL Pennant; Nationals Have Shorter Odds as Wild Card Team

Do the Twins have an outside shot at winning the AL? Photo from Wikimedia Commons [CC License]
  • Twins just won their first division title since 2010
  • Minnesota hasn’t won a playoff series since 2002 and have lost an MLB record-tying 13 consecutive postseason games
  • Twins take on Yankees in ALDS, a team against which it has a combined regular-season and playoff record of 37-94 since 2003

Despite an explosive offense that set the single-season home run mark with 307 bombs in powering the Minnesota Twins to a 101-61 record and a first division title since 2010, the Twins enter the playoffs an underdog.

Part of this is down to the fact that they will face the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series, a team that has beaten the Twins in all five playoff meetings between the teams.

But at +700 in the current 2019 AL pennant odds, is there any value with this year’s Twins squad?

MLB 2019 Pennant Odds

American League AL Pennant Odds National League NL Pennant Odds
Houston Astros -125 Los Angeles Dodgers -125
New York Yankees +275 Atlanta Braves +400
Minnesota Twins +700 Washington Nationals +400
Oakland Athletics +800 St. Louis Cardinals +450
Tampa Bay Rays +1400

*Odds taken on 10/02/19

Bombs Away

This Minnesota team makes no bones about it – it lives and dies on the power and frequency of its home runs. The Twins became the first team to eclipse 300 home runs in a single season with 307, narrowly edging the Yankees’ 306, and finished second in the major leagues with 5.80 runs per game.

And the Twins weren’t afraid to share the long-ball wealth, becoming the first team to have five players hit 30-or-more homers in a season.

As the quality and intensity of the opposition pitching increases in October, it will be interesting to see if the Twins can thrive with their dependency on the long ball.

Tough Road Ahead

For the first time in baseball history, there were four 100-win teams, and the Twins will likely have to go through two of them (Yankees and Houston Astros) if they are to win the AL pennant.

All three AL teams boast some of the best offenses in major-league history. The Yankees scored 943 runs, the Twins 939 and the Astros had 920. But while the Twins and Yankees were fairly similarly defensively, giving up 754 and 739, the Astros conceded almost 100 runs less than either of them, giving up just 640.

Interestingly though, Minnesota has a mixed record against the other two contenders in the season series this year, with a 4-3 record against the Astros, but trailing 2-4 to the Yankees.

Premium on Pitching

While there seems little doubt that the Twins’ offense is set up to succeed, doubts remain over the legitimacy of their pitching, so often the key to postseason success … or the lack thereof.

In terms of earned-run average, Minnesota’s staff actually has a leg up on New York’s, with a 4.18 ERA to the Yankees’ 4.27, with both having a combined WHIP of 1.30.

The Twins’ top two starters, Jose Berrios (3.68 ERA) and Jake Odorizzi (3.51), have actually outperformed their Yankees counterparts this season as James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka had ERA’s of 3.82 and 4.45. respectively.

The X-factor is the return of Luis Severino, and it remains to be seen how he holds up after missing the majority of the season through injury.

Of course, if they manage to make it through the ALDS matchup with New York, a possible pitching matchup with one of the greatest playoff rotations of all time, according to Sports Illustrated, may well await them in the championship round.

Prediction: In the unlikely event that they overcome the weight of history and defeat the Yankees, it seems almost unlikely they’d be a good bet to win the pennant at +700, as the Astros will most likely be awaiting them.

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